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Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Cost of Pay TV (revisited)

When I started this blog in 2011, I had just dumped DirecTV and put up an antenna. DirecTV was costing me about $70 a month. In my first post on the subject, I noted that this was pretty much average for Pay TV customers. I also calculated that this $70 a month added up to about $9000 over 10 years, and would only continue to rise over time.

So now just a few short years later in 2014 the average cost of pay TV is up to about $85 a month - over $1000 a year, over $10,000 over ten years. In fact, the average price of cable has been increasing at a rate of 6% annually. What is the cable company going to get from you over your lifetime? Let's assume that you start paying cable at age 20 for $85 a month and continue to pay until you are 70, a period of 50 years. If you were able to work out some magical deal with your provider to have no price increase for 50 years, you would spend $51,000 on TV during that time. Add taxes, Set Top Box rentals, and a 6% annual price increase, and your lifetime total for TV alone will approach $100,000.

When I put up that first TV antenna, I got about 22 channels using a converter box on my old 32" analog TV. The picture was just as good as what I was paying DirecTV $70 a month for. With the money we were saving, within a year we were able to buy a 52" HDTV within a year - and that gave us an AWESOME picture! More channels and subchannels went on air, and I improved my antenna setup so that now I get about 40 channels free. Also in the time since I cut the cord, we've added 2 Roku boxes and both Plex and PlayOn servers that allow me to watch almost anything on the internet, and a FTA satellite dish. I have a DVR that lets me record either FTA satellite or broadcast TV. We pay nothing for TV but our $7.99 a month Netflix subscription, and we rent a few new releases on Redbox a month. And I have access to over a thousand channels.Yea, I only watch a handful of those channels. But I don't pay for any of them. How many channels do you pay for that you never watch?

No, I'm not missing a thing. Sure, there are some things I may have to wait to see. I can watch my TV shows on Hulu for free, and all I have to do is wait a day or two.

So, my question to you is this: 
Why are you still paying for TV?

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